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I Belong

Review: Ruins by Dan Wells

RuinsTitle: Ruins

Author: Dan Wells

Genre: YA Dystopian

Series: Partials (Book #3)

Publication Date: March 11, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 464 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062071106 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062071101 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Jessie


As the clock ticks closer to the final Partial expiration date, humans and Partials stand on the brink of war. Caught in the middle, thousands of miles apart, are Samm and Kira: Samm, who is trapped on the far side of the continent beyond the vast toxic wasteland of the American Midwest; and Kira, now in the hands of Dr. Morgan, who is hell-bent on saving what’s left of the Partials, even if she has to destroy Kira to do it.

The only hope lies in the hands of the scattered people of both races who seek a way to prevent the rapidly escalating conflict. But in their midst appears a mysterious figure, neither human nor Partial, with solemn warnings of a new apocalypse–one that none of them may be able to avert.

The final book in the Partials Sequence is a thrill ride of epic proportions, as the last remnants of life on our planet fight to determine its final fate.

Quick & Dirty: The third book of the Partials Sequence is all that we hoped for, continuing the action and the suspense but with even more urgency, and just enough romance and humor to lighten it up just a little.

Opening Sentence: “This is a general message to the residents of Long Island.”

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Ruins would stand alone better in the series than Fragments would, and there is enough background given to read it individually, but as with most series, it is a much better read as a whole. The background of the plot seems less important even than the background with the characters. Kira and Samm had developed so much of a friendship in the first two books, that we hope to see that continue, maybe even into something more as it has been hinted at with the cliffhanger ending of Fragments. There is the slight inconvenience that they start out on different sides of the continent with a toxic wasteland between them. Unfortunately, saving the world is first priority, and just as that came between Marcus and Kira before, we really don’t know if Kira and Samm will even see each other again. Marcus is still an important and endearing character and we have yet to find out if he and Kira might develop into something more as well. If they even live through what is hinted at as the second ending of the world by some new (and frightening) characters. There are several characters we haven’t met before, mostly Partials, and several characters that we get to know much better, including Heron and Ariel.

Wells manages to just reveal one mystery at a time, which keeps his audience on the edge of their seat throughout the book, even down to the last chapters. There is a point in Part 3 of this book that was drawn out just a little too much for me when I just couldn’t stand it any more and I had to peek at the end, but other than that the pacing was much better in this book than it was in Fragments, the second book of the Partials sequence. This is mostly due to the fact that the Partials are nearing their expiration dates. The human predicament doesn’t seem as urgent, until we are again reminded that the humans must have live Partials to save their babies. Something about suffering babies just creates its own sense of urgency, and that particular aspect is magnified again in the third book.

The focus is still mostly on Kira, but not as much in this book. We switch perspective much more often to incorporate all the different groups and physical locations, passing the narrative almost every chapter. This is an important part of the plot because communication is all but impossible, creating chaos, suspense, and difficulty in decision-making, and, of course, immediate survival. Everyone is basically running every which way trying to save themselves, and they have lived in survival mode for so long that their first instinct is still to kill everyone else instead of stopping and listening to each other. Our few characters are doing their utmost to change that but they are met with resistance at every attempt.

The best part of this book is the deeper discussion about human nature and even war. Much could be written on that subject using this book as an example, and it would make an excellent base for a term paper or book club discussion. It is fascinating how we start out at the beginning of the series on the human side and fearing the Partials, and by the second book we don’t even know whose side to take anymore, and now we are hoping that both sides can find their “cure”. In Ruins, it becomes very obvious that the dilemma comes from having good guys and bad guys on both sides.

This book, and its ending, are satisfying, but as with any good series, there are still some unanswered questions, and, of course, we still want more! It almost made me wish that Wells would have shortened some of the substance in the three books in order to add a little more to the ending. It seems that most dystopian novels are that way, when you reach the ending of the hardcore action, we don’t get much beyond that. But alas, that is just a consequence of reading a creative and well-written series by a talented author.

Notable Scene:

Samm looked at the Partials. “Lemon or mint?”

Dwain shook his head in disbelief. “You’re bribing us with candy?”

“We’ll take mint,” said Gorman. Calix nodded and closed the door, and Gorman scowled at Dwain. “That wasn’t a bribe, it was a demonstration.” He shot a hard glance at Samm. “He’s showing us they’re equals.”

“We’re working together,” said Samm. “Partners, friends, whatever you want to call it.”

“What do you want to call it?” asked Heron. Samm gave her a quick glance but didn’t answer.

“But why?” asked Gorman. “After everything that’s happened, after everything you’ve told us about the humans and the world and all the million things wrong with it…Why?”

Samm was still looking at Heron when he answered. “If you want to survive in this world, you need to stop asking why people work together, and just start working together.

Partials Series:

0.5 Isolation

1. Partials

2. Fragments

3. Ruins


FTC Advisory: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins provided me with a copy of Ruins. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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Review: Ruins by Dan Wells, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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